Our skin plays a vital role in keeping us healthy. It controls the temperature of our bodies, holds in fluids and protects us from infection.
Burns destroy skin. Even relatively small burns can still be extremely serious, especially if complications develop. Nothing but the most minor burn injury should be self-treated. All other types of burn injuries require immediate medical attention.
If you have suffered a burn within the past 48 hours and consider it serious enough to search the Internet for possible complications, you should consult a doctor immediately. The below information is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for consulting a medical doctor.
How To Treat Minor/Superficial Burns
Minor burns that don't involve blistering or severe pain can be treated in a few simple steps. First, cover the burn with a cool, wet towel or soak the burned area in cold water for about five minutes. Do not ice the burn; applying ice can further damage your skin. Next, cover the burn with a sterile cloth, but keep in mind that friction against the cloth can make the burn worse. Do not apply a band-aid or other adhesive, as you could run the risk of tearing away skin when removing the bandage. Your skin will probably feel tight and maybe even itchy over the next few days, but the burn should heal in a few days to a week.
What To Do If You Have A Major Burn
If you feel you have received a more serious burn, don't take chances. Go straight to a hospital, emergency room or doctor's office. Immediate action can prevent unnecessary damage and reduce the risk of complications. If left untreated, major burns can become worse, resulting in even more severe damage. Trained medical staff can accurately assess the full extent of your injuries and provide you with the proper care.
How Do You Know If A Burn Is Serious?
Blisters are a telltale sign of serious burns (in medical terms, partial- or full-thickness burns). However, blisters may take as long as 48 hours to form. Severe pain, swelling and large areas of redness are more immediate indicators. If in doubt, seek prompt treatment. Swift diagnosis and care can greatly reduce the risk of serious complications.
What To Do In The Immediate Aftermath Of A Burn Injury
While awaiting medical treatment, it is important to protect your skin from further damage. The best type of immediate care is to cool the skin down and halt the progress of the burn. You can do this by applying a smooth, dampened fabric to the burn. Alternatively, you can run the burn under cool water. However, do not apply ice, cream or lotion. Even burn cream should be avoided.
If your burn involved clothing that became stuck to your skin, do not try to remove it. Doing so could peel away skin and tissue. If you must remove the clothing, cut it away.
Burns to the face require an even greater degree of caution. The skin on the face is extremely sensitive and susceptible to scarring. If you are burned around your eyes or mouth and are having trouble opening them, stay as still as possible. Do not use band-aids, creams or oils, which can potentially make the burn worse. Instead, cover the burn with a smooth, cool, damp cloth and seek immediate medical attention.
What To Do If Someone Else Has A Serious Burn
If you are witnessing a serious burn on another person, keep them conscious and talking to you. This will help prevent them from going into potentially life-threatening shock. Signs of shock include pale and clammy skin, loss of consciousness or a dropping pulse. The sooner you seek medical attention for the burn victim, the better.
After Receiving Medical Treatment, Get A Free Assessment Of Your Legal Options
Burns are often a consequence of preventable accidents. If someone else's carelessness contributed to your injuries, you should not have to shoulder the immense financial burden of a major burn.
Turn to Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, one of the nation's premier personal injury firms. Our attorneys have secured millions of dollars in financial recovery for burn injury victims. Based in San Francisco, California, our lawyers handle serious burn accidents nationwide.
Complete our contact form or call our office at 415-981-7210 to request your free initial consultation.